How Long Do You Boil Mashed Potatoes? [Recipe & Tips]

How long do you boil mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food that’s perfect for when you want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch your favorite show. They’re creamy, delicious, and often loaded with butter and cream. But when you make mashed potatoes at home, you need to know how long to boil them in order to get a perfect consistency: not too runny and not too stiff.

This delicious side dish is easy to make, it can be made ahead of time. However, there are times when making mashed potatoes can be more complicated than it needs to be. If you’ve ever boiled them too long or undercooked them (or maybe even overcooked them), then you know how frustrating it can be when the perfect texture isn’t achieved.

When you boil potatoes, the goal is to cook them until they’re soft and fluffy. But how long do you boil mashed potatoes? And how many potatoes per pound of water? There’s more than one answer to both of these questions. To get the best results from your potato-boiling adventure, check out this handy guide for making mashed potatoes in your kitchen!

The Mashed Potato Basics

Mashed potatoes are a staple of the American diet. They’re made from cooked potatoes that have been mashed or crushed and blended together. Mashed potatoes can often be used as a side dish for meat, fish, and poultry. You can make it in advance and reheat the mashed potatoes by baking it at 350 degrees F (176 C) until warmed through — about 30 minutes for large servings or 15 minutes for small ones.

How To Make The Perfect Mashed Potatoes?

When you are cooking potatoes, the most important thing to remember is that the more water you use, the better they’ll be. In fact, if you want mashed potatoes that taste like a cloud or a pillow (and who doesn’t?), then add as much water as possible. You can also add other things: milk and butter are good examples.

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Butter? Yes indeed! Adding butter will make your mashed potatoes taste like heaven itself has descended upon your kitchen table and filled it with warmth and joyous smiles. The key here is to add just enough butter so that it shines through in every bite; however, don’t go overboard—if there’s too much butter it’ll feel greasy in your mouth and reduce the overall experience of eating these amazing spuds by at least 75%.

Here’s an example recipe for how long to boil mashed potatoes: 1 pound of potato + 4 cups (1 quart) water + 1 tablespoon salt + 2 tablespoons butter

How Long do you Boil Mashed Potatoes?

Boil mashed potatoes for 20-25 minutes if you want the potatoes to be soft and fluffy. If you prefer your mashed potatoes extra firm, boil them for 30 minutes. If you want them super soft, boil them for 45 minutes!

The key to perfect mashed potatoes is boiling them until they’re just right. Too long in the pot and they’ll be too soft; not long enough and they’ll taste bland. The good news is that no matter how long it takes, boiling mashed potatoes only takes about 20-30 minutes total (depending on the size of your pot).

Your Boiling Options

1. Boiling potatoes in the microwave

To boil potatoes in a microwave, place them in a large bowl and add enough water to cover them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cook on high for 15 minutes, then allow to stand for 5 minutes before draining.

2. Boiling potatoes using an oven bag

Place potatoes into an oven bag and season with salt, pepper, paprika, or other spices of your choice. Add 1/2 cup water (or broth) to the bag as well as some butter if desired. Seal tightly by folding over excess plastic at two ends of the bag so it becomes airtight.

Place the potatoes into the oven preheated 400F (204C) for 1 hour until fork tender but not mushy when pierced with one end of a fork or toothpick inserted into potato flesh comes out cleanly–if any liquid remains inside potato after cooking time, drain through vent hole at bottom of bag first before serving so nothing sticks together; do not squeeze too hard because this might make them turn brown faster once they’re cooked!

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Other Tips for Boiling Potatoes for Mashing

1. Add water to your pot and make sure it covers the potatoes by about an inch or so. If you don’t have enough water, use a larger pot.

2. Don’t let the potatoes sit in this water for too long—you want to get them into a boiling state as quickly as possible.

3. Once they’re boiling, cover them and let them cook for about 20 minutes until tender when pierced with a fork (they should be soft). Do not add salt! It will keep the mashed potatoes from turning out fluffy and creamy—and it can also cause lumps to form if you try to mash them while still hot. Instead of adding salt directly into your dish at this stage, sprinkle a little bit on top before serving (or just eat plain).

4. Similarly, don’t add milk until after cooking; this will keep things smooth too!


Generally, the questions of how long to boil potatoes and how many potatoes per pound of water depend an awful lot on the goal. If you want mashed potatoes, then you will cook them for a different amount of time than if you want potato salad.

However, there are some general rules to follow when boiling any type of potato. For example:

  • Use enough water so that your pot won’t run dry before your potatoes are done cooking. Any less water and they’ll turn into baked potato logs instead of fluffy mashed spuds!
  • Don’t add cold water because it will slow down the cooking process; instead, start with hot tap water that is at least as hot as boiling point (212F) or hotter—this way they’ll cook more quickly and evenly throughout their entire mass which means better texture in those tender centers where it matters most!

Mashed potatoes are a delicious and comforting side dish, but they’re not the easiest thing to make. You have to boil the potatoes for just the right amount of time, then drain them and mash them with cream, butter, and seasoning. If you follow these steps closely (and don’t forget about your patience!), then your mashed potato dreams will come true!